Democrats in New York City, who outnumber Republican voters by more than six to one, had a bittersweet New Year. As the ball dropped in Times Square, the city’s last progressive talk radio station went silent, flipping its format to Spanish music and leaving liberal voices out in the cold in the nation’s top broadcast market.
WWRL bade farewell to veteran hosts Ed Schultz, Thom Hartmann, Randi Rhodes, and Alan Colmes, extending a coast-to-coast wave of progressive stations sinking in a sea of listener apathy— especially in big liberal cities.
The same day, Clear Channel’s KTLK, the last liberal-dominated talk station in Los Angeles, the nation’s No 2 market, flipped Rhodes, Stephanie Miller, Bill Press, and David Cruz for conservative talkers Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and Sean Hannity.
The company’s KNEW in San Francisco did the same, booting liberal voices for more conservative ones. And talk stations in Portland, Ore., and Seattle, Wash., said goodbye to their liberal formats and picked up sports programming.
It turns out that progressive talk doesn’t bring in enough listeners or advertisers to be financially successful in today’s highly competitive radio industry.